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Applications of a Rapid Endospore Viability Assay for Monitoring UV Inactivation and Characterizing Arctic Ice Cores

Shafaat, Hannah S. and Ponce, Adrian (2006) Applications of a Rapid Endospore Viability Assay for Monitoring UV Inactivation and Characterizing Arctic Ice Cores. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 72 (10). pp. 6808-6814. ISSN 0099-2240. doi:10.1128/AEM.00255-06.

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We have developed a rapid endospore viability assay (EVA) in which endospore germination serves as an indicator for viability and applied it to (i) monitor UV inactivation of endospores as a function of dose and (ii) determine the proportion of viable endospores in arctic ice cores (Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 [GISP2] cores; 94 m). EVA is based on the detection of dipicolinic acid (DPA), which is released from endospores during germination. DPA concentrations were determined using the terbium ion (Tb3+)-DPA luminescence assay, and germination was induced by L-alanine addition. The concentrations of germinable endospores were determined by comparison to a standard curve. Parallel EVA and phase-contrast microscopy experiments to determine the percentage of germinable spores yielded comparable results (54.3% ± 3.8% and 48.9% ± 4.5%, respectively), while only 27.8% ± 7.6% of spores produced CFU. EVA was applied to monitor the inactivation of spore suspensions as a function of UV dose, yielding reproducible correlations between EVA and CFU inactivation data. The 90% inactivation doses were 2,773 J/m2, 3,947 J/m2, and 1,322 J/m2 for EVA, phase-contrast microscopy, and CFU reduction, respectively. Finally, EVA was applied to quantify germinable and total endospore concentrations in two GISP2 ice cores. The first ice core contained 295 ± 19 germinable spores/ml and 369 ± 36 total spores/ml (i.e., the percentage of germinable endospores was 79.9% ± 9.3%), and the second core contained 131 ± 4 germinable spores/ml and 162 ± 17 total spores/ml (i.e., the percentage of germinable endospores was 80.9% ± 8.8%), whereas only 2 CFU/ml were detected by culturing.

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Additional Information:Copyright © 2006, American Society for Microbiology. Received 1 February 2006/ Accepted 22 June 2006 We thank Wayne Nicholson, Don Obenhuber, Stephanie Connon, Elizabeth Lester, and Michael Kempf for helpful discussions and Pun To Yung for help with contrast enhancement of phase-contrast micrographs. We also thank the National Science Foundation and the National Ice Core Laboratory for providing Greenland ice cores. The research described in this paper was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Supplemental material for this article may be found at
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:SHAaem06
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ID Code:6334
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:03 Dec 2006
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 20:33

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